Lamentations 4

Study the Inner Meaning

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1 Aleph. How is the gold become dim, the finest colour is changed, the stones of the sanctuary are scattered in the top of every street?

2 Beth. The noble sons of Sion, and they that were clothed with the best gold: how are they esteemed as earthen vessels, the work of the potter's hands?

3 Ghimel. Even the sea monsters have drawn out the breast, they have given suck to their young: the daughter of my people is cruel, like the ostrich in the desert.

4 Daleth. The tongue of the sucking child hath stuck to the roof of his mouth for thirst: the little ones have asked for bread, and there was none to break it unto them.

5 He. They that were fed delicately have died in the streets; they that were brought up in scarlet have embraced the dung.

6 Vau. And the iniquity of the daughter of my people is made greater than the sin of Sodom, which was overthrown in a moment, and hands took nothing in her.

7 Zain. Her Nazarites were whiter than snow, purer than milk, more ruddy than the old ivory, fairer than the sapphire.

8 Heth. Their face is now made blacker than coals, and they are not known in the streets: their skin hath stuck to their bones, it is withered, and is become like wood.

9 Teth. It was better with them that were slain by the sword, than with them that died with hunger: for these pined away being consumed for want of the fruits of the earth.

10 Jod. The hands of the pitiful women have sodden their own children: they were their meat in the destruction of the daughter of my people.

11 Caph. The Lord hath accomplished his wrath, he hath poured out his fierce anger: and he hath kindled a fire in Sion, and it hath devoured the foundations thereof.

12 Lamed. The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world would not have believed, that the adversary and the enemy should enter in by the gates of Jerusalem.

13 Mem. For the sins of her prophets, and the iniquities of her priests, that have shed the blood of the just in the midst of her.

14 Nun. They have wandered as blind men in the streets, they were defiled with blood: and when they could not help walking in it, they held up their skirts.

15 Samech. Depart you that are defiled, they cried out to them: Depart, get ye hence, touch not: for they quarrelled, and being removed, they said among the Gentiles: He will no more dwell among them.

16 Phe. The face of the Lord hath divided them, he will no more regard them: they respected not the persons of the priests, neither had they pity on the ancient.

17 Ain. While we were yet standing, our eyes failed, expecting help for us in vain, when we looked attentively towards a nation that was not able to save.

18 Sade. Our steps have slipped in the way of our streets, our end draweth near: our days are fulfilled, for our end is come.

19 Coph. Our persecutors were swifter than the eagles of the air: they pursued us upon the mountains, they lay in wait for us in the wilderness.

20 Res. The breath of our mouth, Christ the Lord, is taken in our sins: to whom we said: Under thy shadow we shall live among the Gentiles.

21 Sin. Rejoice, and be glad, O daughter of Edom, that dwellest in the land of Hus: to thee also shall the cup come, thou shalt be made drunk, and naked.

22 Thau. Thy iniquity is accomplished, O daughter of Sion, he will no more carry thee away into captivity: he visited thy iniquity, O daughter of Edom, he hath discovered thy sins. The Prayer of Jeremias the Prophet.

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   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 122


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 96, 374, 382, 1073, 1234, 1460, 2336, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 47, 305, 312, 343, 379, 501, 502, ...

Sacred Scripture 87

True Christian Religion 252


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 79, 175, 183, 195, 196, 239, 240, ...

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 58

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 59

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:

Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 19:24

Leviticus 13:45, 26:28, 33

Deuteronomy 28:51, 56

Judges 9:15

2 Kings 6:29, 18:27, 25:3, 8, 21

Job 1:1, 19:20, 30:30, 39:16

Psalms 106:27, 137:7

Song of Solomon 5:10, 15

Isaiah 13, 22:2, 24:2, 28:18, 30:16, 32:2, 40:2, 47:6, 51:20

Jeremiah 2:37, 6:13, 16:16, 17:27, 19:11, 21:13, 23:14, 37:13, 39:5, 49:7, 12, 50:20, 52:9

Lamentations 1:3, 11, 13, 2:1, 3, 4, 11, 12, 14, 20, 5:6, 10, 12

Ezekiel 4:16, 5:10, 7:2, 6, 15, 11:6, 12:13, 19:8, 22:25, 27, 23:45, 29:6, 16, 31:17, 35:15

Daniel 8:25

Hosea 8, 13:10

Obadiah 1:10, 16

Habakkuk 8

Zephaniah 17

Matthew 10:15

Word/Phrase Explanations

gold
Gold means good, and just as gold was the most precious metal known to ancient mankind so it represents the good of the highest and...

stones
Stones in the Bible in general represent truths, or things we know concerning the Lord and what He wants from us and for us in...

sanctuary
'Sanctuary' signifies the truth of heaven and the church. 'Sanctuary,' as in Ezekiel 24:21, signifies the Word.

Sons
'Sons of Canaan,' as in Genesis 10, are people who kept external worship separate from internal.

Potter
A potter,' as in Zechariah 11:12, 13, signifies reformation and regeneration.

hands
Scientists believe that one of the most crucial developments in the evolution of humans was bipedalism – walking on two legs. That left our hands...

Breast
The breast (Ezek. 16:7), signifies natural good.

suck
To 'suck,' as in Isaiah 66:11, signifies influx from the Lord. To' suck the abundance of the sea' signifies imbibing truths of doctrine from the...

young
'The son of a cow' signifies the celestial natural level and natural exterior good.

daughter
It is because of a celestial and angelic proprium, or selfhood, that the church is called 'a woman,' 'a wife,' 'a bride,' 'a virgin,' and...

people
The Bible generally uses two different terms for large groups: “people” and “nation.” When it uses the term “nation,” it is talking about a group...

desert
'Wilderness' signifies something with little life in it, as described in the internal sense in Luke 1:80 'Wilderness' signifies somewhere there is no good because...

tongue
'The tongue,' as an organ, signifies doctrine, but as speech, or language, it signifies religion. 'Tongue' signifies perception of truth with respect to speech, and...

bread
Just as natural food feeds the natural body, so spiritual food feeds the spiritual body. And since our spiritual body is the expression of what...

none
'No one,' or 'none' denotes the negative side of something.

Streets
The phrase 'in the streets and synagogues' in Matthew 6:2, 5, and Luke 8:26-27, refers to a representative rite amongst the Jews to teach in...

iniquity
In the Word three terms are used to mean bad things that are done. These three are transgression, iniquity, and sin, and they are here...

Sodom
'Sodom' signifies the evil of self-love, and 'Gomorrah,' the falsity derived from it.

Nazarites
'Nazarites' represent the Lord regarding His divine human, especially His divine natural. 'Nazarites,' in the Israelitish churches, represent the Lord regarding the Word, in its...

Snow
In Job 9:30, 'waters of snow' denotes truths which are or appear genuine. 'Lye' denotes the good which purifies, and 'the ditch' denotes falsity.

milk
Water represents true ideas about day-to-day life, and other drinks and liquids in general represent different forms of truth. Milk is a drink that contains...

old
'Old waste places' signify the celestial aspects of faith.

skin
'Skin' corresponds to truth or to falsity in the extremes. 'The skin,' as relates to the grand human, means the natural self. There are spirits...

bones
Bones are strong and supportive, providing a framework for our bodies and making motion and action possible. They are also the least "alive" part of...

withered
In the Bible (and in life), the idea of withering is usually connected to plants, and plants generally wither if they don't get enough water....

wood
To ask counsel at their stocks,' as in Hosea 4:12, signifies the good of the delight that comes from some lusts.

Slain
'A multitude of slain' relates to people who perish from falsities, and 'a great number of carcasses,' of people who perish from evils, as in...

Sword
A 'sword,' in the Word, signifies the truth of faith combating and the vastation of truth. In an opposite sense, it signifies falsity combating and...

Want
'Want of spiritual nourishment,' denotes a lack of knowledge, intelligence, and wisdom.

Women
'Women,' as in Genesis 45:19, signify the affections of truth. But in Genesis 31:50, 'women' signify affections of not genuine truth, so not of the...

own
In many cases, the spiritual meaning of "own," both as a verb and as an adjective, is relatively literal. When people are described as the...

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

lord
The Lord, in the simplest terms, is love itself expressed as wisdom itself. In philosophic terms, love is the Lord's substance and wisdom is His...

Fierce anger
'Fierce anger,' as in Genesis 49:7, signifies grievous aversion from good.

anger
'Wrath,' as in Genesis 49:7, signifies aversion from truth. 'Great wrath,' as in Revelation 12:12, signifies hatred against the new church.

fire
Just as natural fire can be both comforting in keeping you warm or scary in burning down your house, so fire in the spiritual sense...

the kings of
The kings of Media and Persia' represent people who are in faith separate from charity.

kings
The human mind is composed of two parts, a will and an understanding, a seat of loves and affections, and a seat of wisdom and...

earth
'Lands' of different nations are used in the Word to signify the different kinds of love prevalent in the inhabitants.

Inhabitants
Inhabitants,' in Isaiah 26:9, signify the men of the church who are in good of doctrine, and thence in the good of life.

world
The term "world" has both general and more specific meanings in the Bible, including the relatively literal sense of the natural, physical world. In more...

enemy
An enemy in the Bible refers to people who are in the love of evil and the false thinking that springs from evil. On a...

enter
All changes of place in the Bible represent changes in spiritual state. “Entering” – usually used as entering someone’s house or “going in unto” someone...

gates
In Lamentations 2:8-9, 'wall,' 'rampart,' 'gates,' and 'bars' signify doctrines.

Jerusalem
Jerusalem first comes to or attention in II Samuel, chapter 5 where King David takes it from the Jebusites and makes it his capital. In...

prophets
The idea of a "prophet" is very closely tied to the idea of the Bible itself, since the Bible was largely written by prophets. At...

priests
Priests' represent the Lord regarding His divine good. When they do not acknowledge the Lord, they lose their signification of the Lord.

the blood of the
‘The blood of the grape’ signifies spiritual celestial good, which is the name given to the divine in heaven as it goes out from the...

blood
Bloods signify evil, in Ezek. 16:9.

just
He is said to be 'just' in a spiritual sense, who lives according to divine laws. They on the right hand being called 'just,' as...

men
The relationship between men and women is deep and nuanced, and one entire book of the Writings – Conjugial Love or Love in Marriage –...

Walking
In the prophetical writings, anything relating to faith is expressed as 'walking' and 'seeking' and anything relating to love is expressed as 'loving' and 'serving.'

touch
Imagine having your mother touch your cheek. Then imagine having your spouse or someone you love romantically touch your cheek. Then imagine having a baby...

removed
As with many verbs, the meaning of "remove" in the Bible varies a good bit depending on context. It generally involves a separation of spiritual...

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

face
“The eyes are the windows of the soul.” That’s a sentiment with roots somewhere in murky antiquity, but one that has become hopelessly cliché because...

eyes
It’s common to say “I see” when we understand something. And indeed, “seeing” in the Bible represents grasping and understanding spiritual things. So it makes...

Us
Because people are governed by angels and spirits, in Genesis 1:26 it says 'let us make man into our image.' But because the Lord alone...

In vain
'To take the Lord's name in vain,' denotes profaning divine truths with blasphemies and applying divine teachings to idolatrous worship, as the Jews did when...

nation
'Nations' signify people who are in the good of love and charity from the Lord. Two nations in the womb,' as in Genesis 25:23, signify...

save
To be saved or rescued means getting true ideas that we can hold to even in the face of a storm of false thinking. Sometimes...

way
These days we tend to think of "roads" as smooth swaths of pavement, and judge them by how fast we can drive cars on them....

Near
'Near,' in the Word, signifies presence and conjunction. 'To be near' signifies being on internal levels. Near,' as in Genesis 19:20, signifies truth bordering upon...

days
The expression 'even to this day' or 'today' sometimes appears in the Word, as in Genesis 19:37-38, 22:14, 26:33, 32:32, 35:20, and 47:26. In a...

come
Coming (Gen. 41:14) denotes communication by influx.

eagles
Eagle wings, referred to in Daniel 7:3, signify rational principles grounded in man's proprium.

air
"Air" in the Bible represents thought, but in a very general way – more like our capacity to perceive ideas and the way we tend...

upon
'Upon' or 'over' signifies being within.

mountains
In Isaiah 40:12 'to weigh the mountains in a balance, and the hills in scales,' signifies that the celestial aspects of love and charity are...

Breath
'Breath' is the life of the body corresponding to spiritual things, just like the motion of the heart is the life of the body corresponding...

under
Generally speaking things that are seen as lower physically in the Bible represent things that are lower or more external spiritually. In some cases this...

shadow
'The shadow is good' of the oak, poplar and elm means complacence.

glad
To make glad signifies influx and reception from joy of heart.

Edom
'Edom' or 'Idumea,' as in Isaiah 34:5, signifies those who are in evil and in falsities thence derived.

visited
The end time of the church and each individual, is called 'the visitation,' and precedes judgment. 'Visitation' is nothing but an exploration of the quality...


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